Durham 164 for 8 (Bancroft 60, Stokes 35, Brathwaite 3-32) beat Birmingham Bears 130 (Rhodes 45. Stokes 4-27) by 34 runs
Ben Stokes starred with bat and ball as Durham returned to winning ways in the Vitality Blast with a 34-run victory over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.
Both sides went into action on the back of successive defeats and it was the visitors who ended their lean streak after they defended a total of 164 for 8, with Cameron Bancroft top-scoring with 60 from 45 balls, and Stokes chipping in with 35 from 20. Carlos Brathwaite led the Bears' bowling with 3 for 32, Tim Bresnan adding 2 for 25 and Will Rhodes 2 for 11.
Durham then regularly took wickets at important times to bowl the Bears out for 130 in 18.3 overs. Rhodes's perky 45 (27 balls) was ended by a run-out and Matt Lamb's worthy 39 (33 balls, three fours, two sixes) was without support as Stokes, assisted by brilliant catching, added 4 for 27 to his cameo with the bat.
Put in, Durham started slowly, losing openers Graham Clark and David Bedingham, caught in the deep off Craig Miles and Bresnan respectively, on the way to 25 for 2 from five overs.
Stokes launched the counter-attack with two sixes off Brathwaite. The England star looked dangerous but perished in pursuit of another maximum off his old West Indian foe, superbly caught by Sam Hain running around the mid-wicket boundary.
While Bancroft improvised impressively on the way to a 38-ball half-century, others flailed briefly around him. Scott Borthwick bashed a quickfire 18 before Bancroft sought his third six, over cover off Rhodes, and was held by Adam Hose on the rope. Late impetus arrived when Ned Eckersley and Liam Trevaskis took 20 from the final over.
Trevaskis then opened the bowling and soon trapped Hose lbw, sweeping. Brydon Carss removed Ed Pollock, caught at mid off, to leave the Bears 18 for two and then Stokes took the big wicket of Hain, caught behind, in his first over.
Rhodes moved sweetly to 45 but departed after a mix-up with Lamb which saw him easily run out by Bedingham's throw.
The Bears needed 86 from the last ten overs but the next two, tightly delivered by and Trevaskis and Matty Potts, yielded just eight runs. As the pressure increased, Michael Burgess hoisted Stokes to fine leg.
Lamb launched a blow or two in anger but Borthwick bowled Brathwaite through an attempted sweep, and after Lamb fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Raine on the long leg boundary, the equation quickly spiralled beyond the Bears' reach.